by William Higgins, Director, Pre-Sales Engineering, VectorUSA

William Higgins, Director, Pre-Sales Engineering, VectorUSA

If your data center is relatively small, runs on a tight budget, and you need to optimize performance while maximizing your data network solutions investment, a hyperconverged IT framework is undoubtedly the answer you’re looking for.

But what exactly is a hyperconverged infrastructure, otherwise known as HCI? Perhaps Gartner Consulting defines it best:

HCI is a category of scale-out software-integrated infrastructure that applies a modular approach to compute, network and storage on standard hardware, leveraging distributed, horizontal building blocks under unified management.

Source: Gartner Magic Quadrant for Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Simplicity and flexibility are at the core of HCI, and much more so than legacy solutions. Gartner even predicts that by next year, as much as 20 percent of business-critical applications currently deployed on three-tier IT infrastructure will transition to HCI. For entities that run smaller data centers — such as primary/secondary education and the small to medium business space — HCI is the perfect solution.

No need to fear HCI

If you’re familiar with the concept of virtualization, HCI essentially represents its continued evolution. What began with computing, memory, and networks, HCI now virtualizes the storage component as well. As a whole, HCI is the complete virtualization of all of your data center resources and houses any series of purpose-built servers to run the entire virtualization stack in the background.

“As a whole, HCI is the complete virtualization of all of your data center resources and houses any series of purpose-built servers to run the entire virtualization stack in the background.”

– William Higgins, Director, Pre-Sales Engineering, VectorUSA

Unfortunately, some fear and trepidation exist around HCI because it’s not well-understood. The beauty of HCI is that almost all manufacturers have integrated managing the HCI solution into VMware’s vCenter through the use of APIs. And because that’s an interface nearly everyone is used to, all of the configuration happens on the back end, with day-to-day administration in a console that you’re already familiar with.

Significant cost savings and ROI

HCI is not only an efficient data network solution, it can also potentially add up to significant cost savings. That means a quick ROI is truly within reach.

For example, a data center running disparate physical servers, storage devices, and network equipment could see an impressive capital expense savings with an HCI solution over 1:1 upgrades of the existing hardware. In addition, increased performance and reduced administration overhead may be realized to lower CapEx costs as well.

Managing everything from a single pane of glass in a scalable solution is definitely much simpler and less costly than managing 10 different devices with 10 different interfaces.

“Managing everything from a single pane of glass in a scalable solution is definitely much simpler and less costly than managing 10 different devices with 10 different interfaces.”

– William Higgins, Director, Pre-Sales Engineering, VectorUSA

Additional HCI benefits

Aside from the financial aspects of a quick ROI, HCI provides a number of additional benefits worth considering:

Integrated backups: the primary reason HCI consumes a lot of storage is that to function properly it’s required to have multiple copies of your data across multiple hosts providing much better data protection and restoring performance.

Cloud provider integration: HCI solutions also seamlessly integrate with all of the cloud providers and require no additional hardware or software to do so.

Centralized administration: HCI is software-driven with a much smaller IT footprint and reduced data center requirements. As a result, system administration or network engineering staffing can adjust accordingly more toward security administration or HCI administration with a much broader base of knowledge.

Easy deployment: HCI is very easy to deploy and can be accomplished fully production-ready in as little as four hours. HCI is even easier to scale by simply adding a computer or storage node, depending on resource requirements, by leveraging zero-touch deployment technologies.

Consider your long-term Cloud strategy

Even though HCI may make sense for you in the short-term, a long-term Cloud-centric data center strategy is ultimately what’s most important. That ensures that the investment you make today is consistent with your overall future goals. Fully understanding your vision and putting the proper steps in place will help you make wise investments that will get you closer to your end goal and within your targeted timeframe and budgets.

Although technology can be a significant investment, the fact that it’s becoming more dense and compact means that you’ll require less square footage to house it all and fewer resources to manage it.

So, if you’re building a new data center or need to refresh your servers or storage, HCI is a must-have component of the decision-making process that will affect your organization for several years to come.

Are your network security solutions leveraging the latest technologies to meet the needs of your workforce? Contact VectorUSA for an evaluation and custom recommendations for improving the security of your network and data.